In this post I'd like to go through a very subjective/individual topic when it comes to board games - which is evaluation and comparison.
I think it's important if you're going to create your own board game - that you have a base of knowledge about what does and doesn't work in other board games.
Actually - I'd recommend you to "study/evaluate" this across platforms because computer games in many cases are board games with a virtual interface - It's all about core gameplay (I'll have to visit that in another post) ... :)
First off - you should create an evaluation table in where you can place the board games next to each other. Excel is always good for keeping things organized!
When you have written down all the games you want to evaluate - you have to figure out what precisely you're looking for - what data do you want?
Here are some of the questions I used for my list:
- The difficulty of the rules
- The amount of dice / random actions
- Unit diversity
- Flow of action (when is it your turn again?)
- Is there player domination / elimination?
- Do alliances vary and are they contributing to the game?
- Length of a single game
- Is it for casual gamers?
- Is it for hardcore gamers?
- Does the start of the game vary from game to game?
- What about mid-game and end-game?
This is a very individual matter - and my list is minded only on strategy games.
(ex. Starcraft, Axis & Allies, Risk, Memoir, Civ, HoI, Total War, Diplomacy)
Now that you have all the game data listed. It's time to evaluate on it.
Here I usually use 3 levels (easy/good , medium/ok , hard/bad) to keep it simple.
These graduations can't stand alone of course... You'll have to write down why you're choosing "easy" instead of "medium" etc.
This should give you a good overview of what game mechanics and game designs that work.... and in the end this can help you create a better game!
You can easily do this with other board games like Trivial Pursuit, Cluedo and Pandemic.
So... get on with your evaluation - and happy gaming :)